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This story is dedicated to Sam, and all of his friends from the Admiralty Apartments, who are no longer with us. . .
 
Sam Spade:
King of the Admiralty Apartments
 

By Sam Spade
As told to Sandy Hershelman

Skateboards and motorcycles! Horrors made by the Devil himself, I swear. Having just returned from picking up a snack from Waterfront Pizza, I was nearly side-swiped by a kid on a skateboard. He would have run right over my tail, too, had I not jumped into the street. My paws had barely hit the pavement, when a motorcycle whipped into the vacant parking space. My heart's still racing from that near-deadly encounter, but at least my slice of pizza's still intact.
Such is a city dog's life. . .

As the manager of the Admiralty Apartments, it's my duty to keep all of the residents happy. While I leave the paperwork to Larry and Rosemarie Ennen, my humans, I make sure all's well along Port Townsend's waterfront.
Larry's a good guy and I have to take care of him. He's losing his hearing. When someone gets under the building, I bark and let him know. Likewise, when the fire alarm goes off, I have to make sure he's made aware — so I can be sure I'll get out.
Having great hearing can be the pits, though. All of the work they've been doing on my Union Wharf has been real hard on my extra sensitive doggy ears. When that pile driver was going, day after day after day, I thought I would die!
I'd bark and chase the monster, but it did no good.

I tried to complain to City Hall after they took out MY fire hydrant, but no one would listen. All the women would do is scratch my ears and go "Aw, what a cute baby." Cute baby, indeed! What does a man have to do to get some respect around here? Maybe I'll stop by and ask the Hot Dog Man. . .

Well, at least inside my building I am King. The folks who live here are great. I have them well-trained, too.
I'll run up to them, smile and say, "How are you this morning? It's good to see you. Now, pet me!"
They know they're lucky to have me to pet.

Please don't tell Bill Paddock you can buy bones at Safeway. At 74, he leaves a lot more meat on the bone than that ol' butcher would. Bill, bless his heart, feeds me better than Rosemarie and Larry do.
They think that tasteless crunchy kibble is sufficient nourishment for an active guy like me. Geez, you'd think all those Alpo commercials would've made the point by now.
When Rosemarie says, "Go see Bill," I'm off in a flash. She thinks she has me well-trained.
Well-trained nothing. Almost every morning there's a tray with a treat waiting for me at Bill's door. I love Rosemarie, but we do butt heads sometimes. The other week, she tried to take a lamb shank away from me. Well, I did what any self-respecting canine would do — I threatened to bite her finger off! And, I kept the meaty leg — the lamb's, not Rosemarie's.

I do have to figure out what to do with this woman. She keeps trying to talk all of my buddies out of feeding me anything but dog biscuits. Dog biscuits my @%#*. Excuse me, but it makes me mad.
"Sam's getting too fat," Rosemarie tells folks. "The vet says he has to lose three or four pounds." Talk about blabbin' my business all over the place. I feel I carry my 20 pounds quite nicely, thank you.

Fortunately Rosemarie was never able to brainwash Smokey Schense, God rest his soul. When he was alive, his apartment was always my first stop in the morning. No one was better at ear scratches and hot dog deliverin'.
Now, I'll admit hot dogs are a weakness of mine. Whenever the chore service person comes to Mary Staniford's, I'll run down the stairs to meet her. Then we ride up the elevator together. I keep Rosemarie guessin' as to whether they gave me a half a hot dog or a whole. I only take half a wiener back to the office. Two can play at this game, Rosie dear.

Now, Buzz Nelson makes a mean stew. His pork chops always turn out perfectly, too.
Walter Middleton used to get me beef jerky "cigars". Rosemarie even accused me of smoking! Alas, that stopped after I threw up a couple of times. What can I say?
Old Walt's still under my mind control, though. He carries biscuits in his pocket. All I have to do is look at him and he'll pop one to me. What a guy!
Chie Barley's a neat old gal. She used to get down on my level and talk to me and give me a biscuit — until Rosemarie retrained her. Now Chie wants me to sit and wait until the biscuit is in her hand before I grab it. What a pain! Oh, well.
Even the paper boy brings me a treat. Some days I really do end up with too many biscuits, even for me. So I'll collect ‘em and make a pile in Rosemarie's office. In the late afternoon, I settle down for a snack and siesta.

Critter conflicts
Dolly is quite a fox for a 14-year-old poodle. For years I have harbored ungentlemanly thoughts about her, even though I couldn't act on them because of the despicable actions of a veterinarian. It's a shame Dolly just growls at me and tells me where to go. It's such an unladylike thing to do.
As much as I love Pete Sophie, that rat-in-a-dog-suit that lives with him is not very polite. "Squirt" barks and growls at me. He said he thinks I'm a pain. Imagine that!
Now personally, I think that naming any male critter Squirt is bound to create certain Napoleonic tendencies — which Squirt is definitely full of. I used to try to play with him, but now I just get out of his way.
Old Wesley and I are buddies. Eunice Ward's his human. The ding dong wandered off one day (Wesley, not Eunice) and had all of our humans worried. He turned up at U.S. Bank. If Eunice would've just come to me first, I could've sniffed him out for her.
I do miss Max, my kitten. We had such a great time together. When he was a baby, he'd follow Rosemarie and I on our walk. He'd walk a block and then he'd stop and cry. Rosemarie'd pick him up. As he got older he'd make the rounds with us.
You know, I'll be 4 in June. I wonder if Larry'd get me a kitten for my birthday?

Pat Bascue's cat Honey. . .now there's a cutie. I kissed her one day. I had some very uncanine ideas of being more than friends, but she just wasn't interested.
Not all cats are created equal. Take Fluffy, who used to live in my building. Now, she never came out of her apartment. I knew that. Well, I thought I did — until the day I went bounding up the stairs and met her head on.
She ran to her apartment door. Of course, I followed. And then she chased me! I ran all the way down the stairs and out the front door. I don't know what possessed me. I was so embarrassed. I lost my dignity that day, and I've never forgiven that stupid cat!
I still find myself looking for Cleo at Elevated Ice Cream. That cat's been gone a couple of years now. It's not that Cleo'd do anything when I showed up. She'd just sit in her box and look at me. One day, she stood up and it really freaked me out. I ran!

Schmooze the girls
It's amazing what a guy can get in this town just by wagging his tail and perking up his ears.
When I visit the girls at Seafirst, they always give me a doggy biscuit. Of course, being the neat eater that I am, I'll carry it home before I chomp on it.
As cute as those tellers are, their hard biscuits don't hold a candle to Waterfront Pizza's offerings. Personally, I like pepperoni best. Well, except for the days I like plain cheese best.
With my long silky hair, I've been told I'm half collie, half Sheltie. Who knows? My earliest memory is of being picked up by a mail man and taken to a family with a 2-year-old. Aaugh! I barely survived.
Rosemarie rescued me when I was three months old.

Oh, I do love the beach. There are so many wonderful treasures to be found there. Bird carcasses, decaying fish. . .aahh. Just the thought of rolling around in such wonderful slimy delicacies, such decadent scents, takes me down memory lane.
Loving Rosemarie and Larry as I do, I always head back to the office to share the splendor with them. But, they never respond like I think they should. Instead of hugging me and rubbing the slime all over themselves, they scrunch up their faces and hold their noses. People are weird.
Lately I've been wondering if there's any connection to my beach runs and the timing of Rosemarie's water tortures.
When she heads to the laundry room, I know it's time to skedaddle. She calls it a bath. Give me a break! That's way too genteel of a name for the shampoo pouring, water running, body scrubbing that she gives me. Rosemarie threatens me too!
"You're going to be ground up and eaten for lunch," she'll snarl.
Well, at least she doesn't dunk me in the bath water. I still have nightmares from the time Justine, the Ennens' granddaughter, tried to teach me to swim.
Justine is my favorite playmate. She's also the best stick thrower I've ever found. But one day she decided she'd teach me to swim. What a nightmare! She held me under! Rosemarie had to squeeze the salt water out of me.
I still don't trust Justine near the water, but I'm starting to feel okay getting my feet wet.
I do love to play with the otters who live under my building. They patrol the coast each evening. Rosemarie and I'll walk the beach and they'll swim with us. We all talk as we wander. Pretty smart guys, those otters.

In the morning, I use my extra-sensory perception to communicate with my Rosemarie. I stare at her sleeping form and think, "Wake up! Wake up!" And sure enough, she does.
Walking in the woods is great fun, too. If Rosemarie and I are walking and I hear a person coming up the trail, I run back to her and get hooked up on my leash.
We have ESP, my Rosie and me! In her head, she'll say, "Sam, it'd be a good thing if you'd show up now." I actually hear her, you know, and I come a runnin'.

Big, bad dogs
One day, when I was staying with Justine over on Bainbridge Island, I fell in with bad company. The dog across the road was no good, but I didn't see it comin'. He knew all of the trails on the island, and I thought we'd have some fun exploring.
Once he had me far from home, he tried to get me to sneak into a hen house with him. By the way he was drooling, I knew he was up to no good. When I refused to follow him, that nasty mutt beat me up. My back and shoulder still ache when it's cold. Boy, was it good to be back home!
The only other time I got hurt real bad was when I was horsing around with a dog three times my size. He snapped the bone in my foot. The pain was bad enough, but then I had to spend the night in jail — er, at the vet's.
I'll tell you, though, there's no bigger hit with the ladies than a pooch in a cast.
"How come you always coo and caw over Sam, and don't even say, ‘Hi,' to me," Larry asked some gals.
"He's better lookin' than you," one of them replied.
What did he expect? With my rich auburn coat, big brown eyes, gorgeous little ears, and feather duster tail, I am a hunk — and I know it!

 

hershelman@olympus.net
Date Last Modified:9/23/03
Copyright © 2001-2003 Sandy Hershelman. All rights reserved.